Bit.ly's Business Plan To Datamine Links?

from the could-be-interesting dept

A lot of folks have been mistakenly mocking Bit.ly, the popular URL shortening service, which some dismiss because the functionality is quite simple to replicate (and, in fact, it was hardly the first or last such service). But, as has been discussed the real value in Bit.ly isn't so much the fact that it shrinks URLs, but in all the data it collects. The fact that it's become such a popular URL shortening service, means that it has all sorts of data on what's popular online at any given time -- including how many times something is added to a social network and how many clicks it gets. Part of the reason the service itself has been so popular already is the datamining it lets users do, so they can see how many clicks something gets, and apparently, the company behind it is planning to use that data to create its own news site, highlighting what's popular out there. Who knows if this will work (being a news aggregator hasn't made many companies very much money lately), but it does show how something as simple as a URL shortening service actually could have more going on behind the scenes, and shouldn't be written off because it can be replicated in just 10 lines of code. If you can get people to use your ten lines of code, the data itself can be quite valuable, if you know what to do with it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 9:19pm

    It would appear to be a system that would be ripe for automated spamming.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Xanthir, FCD (profile), Aug 4th, 2009 @ 6:43am

    Re:

    Indeed. Though that sort of thing will probably leave traces that can be mined out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Rich Kulawiec, Aug 4th, 2009 @ 7:04am

    URL-shorteners == abuse magnets

    Whatever the intrinsic merits of such sites (and I personally don't think they have any: software that can't handle full URLs is broken and should be repaired or discarded), there's a serious problem with all of them -- one that none have successfully addressed to date.

    They're abuse magnets. That means that the mechanism they provide is not only readily abused, but that the ability to do so is useful to spammers, phishers, malware distributers, etc. (After all, if the potential existed but didn't serve their purposes, they'd largely ignore it.) None of the have yet demonstrated the inclination and ability to address this in any meaningful way, and as a result, abuse has flourished. ("meaningful" == proactive, not reactive, since the latter is just about useless.)

    It is rapidly becoming a best practice to blacklist the domains of all URL-shortening services. Some would argue that this is heavy-handed: I'll argue that it was their responsibility to anticipate, plan for, staff for, and budget for abuse control before they launched -- and if they chose not to do so, then they have no one to blame but themselves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    spinchange, Aug 4th, 2009 @ 2:27pm

    bit.ly is my new del.icio.us

    I for one think bit.ly is totally awesome. The Sidebar has enabled me to use it as a meta data intensive replacement for delicious

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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